Ivy Martin, a CARHA Hockey member for several years, reached out to us following the distribution of our most recent Ice Chips e-letter.

She has a fantastic story in hockey and wanted to share. She is an incredible and passionate individual who is hoping to better the hockey commmunity, providing girls and women with as much opportunity as possible.

Check out Ivy's story below, and prepare to be inspired.

My name is Ivy Martin and I run the Collingwood Knights Women's Hockey Club, in Collingwood, Ontario.

It's been about five years since I started hockey myself AND took over the group. We now boast over 70 women who regularly sign up each season and another 20 spares. I had no idea when I started hockey that I would become so involved on so many different levels.

I was a Rhythmic Gymnast on the Canadian National Team many, many years ago! I spent years coaching at the recreational level after my retirement and even more years after having my own children, providing free programming to girls of all ages and ability. Sports have given me so much; friendships, confidence, travel, independence, the list goes on. I always felt and still do, that it was my obligation to give other girls opportunities. I was given an opportunity through Margo Bulmer and even further opportunity by my community of Stayner, Ontario.

So many clubs and individuals supported my family financially during my athletic career. My folks own a small business called Leishman Pottery. Although I work for my family business and love what I do, I always had a sense that my role - besides being a mom to three awesome kids - was to provide opportunities to other girls of all ages and abilities. I'm not in charge of what they do with those opportunities, I simply try to open the door.

It took me almost two years to gain the courage to try hockey. I used to organize family skates on Friday nights at our outdoor rink, and we had about 20 families signed up. My sisters both played ringette growing up before switching to hockey in University. My youngest sister would stay and play with a group of ladies after our family skate. She bugged me to give it a try. My son was really starting to love hockey, so I figured I'd better learn if I wanted to keep up with him. I could skate forward, that's about it. First night out, I was hooked. Winter ended and no one wanted to run the women's group anymore, so I took it over. I didn't want to stop learning and I had met so many amazing and skilled women. We became members of CARHA Hockey just over three years ago.

In 2017, a group of dedicated volunteers applied for Girls Hockey in Collingwood. I jumped in right away, as my daughter was needing a healthy sport environment, but there was something else - hockey is for everyone. I love Rhythmic Gymnastics and I loved coaching but the team aspect of hockey and the social happiness it offers was just too great to pass up. We started with two teams last season, and now have five, along with a Fundamentals Program. Over 90 girls are playing. We are the Collingwood Girls Hockey Association. I am so proud of the work our group has done.  I am so proud of the number of girls that are playing hockey. I am so humbled to have a small part in what is going to be BIG! 

The amount of support and encouragement we have received has been truly outstanding. Our community partners have been incredible. They have assisted us in providing girls of all ages and ability the opportunity to play the game of hockey.